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3.2 Burnout and Withdrawal. Issues in exercise and sport. Tom & Sam. Burnout and withdrawal???. Today’s modern athletes are subjected to an ever increasing demand on them to perform beyond their abilities.

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3 2 burnout and withdrawal

3.2 Burnout and Withdrawal

Issues in exercise and sport.

Tom & Sam.

Burnout and withdrawal
Burnout and withdrawal???

  • Today’s modern athletes are subjected to an ever increasing demand on them to perform beyond their abilities.

  • Athletes may believe they have to train harder, to possible dangerous levels, to achieve success.

  • It is assumed that more training will result in better sports performance.

  • This may not be the case; hence, Burnout and Withdrawal.

  • Morgan et al (1987) discovered a mood disturbance in training regimes of swimmers.

Key study costill et al 1991 adaptations to training volume in swimming
Key Study – Costill et al (1991)“Adaptations to training volume in swimming.”


  • Aim:

    To investigate if different amounts of training in swimmers will produce a measurable difference in performance.

  • Participants:

  • 24 male college swimmers.

  • Divided into two groups, ‘long’ and ‘short’.

  • Match pairs design was used; Costill matched pp’s in stroke, prior experience and skill.

  • Procedure:

    First 4 weeks: Both, daily sessions of 1.5 hours.

    Next 6 weeks:Short, 1.5 hours per day. Long, 3 hours per day.

    Final 14 weeks:Both, daily sessions of 1.5 hours.

  • Measurements:

    Swimming power. (CYBEX machine)


    Muscle biopsies.

    Blood samples.

    Swimming technique.

Results conclusions
Results & Conclusions:

Short Group

Long Group

  • Swimming power increased by 18.4%.

  • Sprint velocity increased by 3.9%.

  • Stable Cortisol levels.

  • Swimming power increased by 11.6%.

  • Sprint velocity increased by 3.7%

  • Increased Cortisol levels.

Costill concluded that lower levels of training do not disadvantage an athlete; in fact, you can suggest that athletes may benefit from a lower level of training.

There was also some signs of fatigue in the Long group; evidence for such is the increased cortisol levels and reduced testosterone.

‘The Profile of Mood states’ (POMs) questionnaire assessed the mental-health of participants and found no significant differences between the groups.


  • Sport Coaching:

  • Use Variety.

  • Be a role model.

  • Emphasise the process rather than the outcome.

  • Encourage time off.

  • Quality is better than quantity.


  • Internal Validity:

  • Face validity.

  • Objective and Scientific Measures. (Heart rate, blood samples, cortisol levels, CYBEX etc)

  • Matched Pairs, reduces effect of individual differences.

  • Hawthorne Effect.

  • External Validity:

  • Population Validity.

    (Small Sample)

  • Mundane Realism.

    (College Swimmers/Sports setting)

  • Androcentric.

  • Fairly modern study(1991).

  • Concurrent (POMs)


Reductionist or holistic? Situational or dispositional?

You Decide!